The Coastal Landscape of West Samos in the Seventh and Sixth Centuries BCE: Possible landing points and routes

By Michael Loy, published May 2024


This article uses a combination of archaeological, environmental and historical evidence to consider where the most plausible shipping routes and landing points were around the west part of the Aegean island of Samos during the period 700–500 BCE, a time known for significant maritime activity in the region. Emerging evidence suggests that the west part of Samos, although subject year-round to strong and dangerous winds and lacking in safe anchorages along its coastline, connected itself in antiquity to a range of regional and supra-regional maritime networks. This article provides an important discussion for considering the practicalities of how those networks operated. Taking into account the size and capacity of ships sailing the Aegean in the seventh and sixth centuries BCE, this article considers how small ships would have fared in this region, in light of annual wind forecast, coastal topography and offshore bathymetry. Although there is a dearth of primary historical evidence from this period, comparative written accounts from the early modern period provide an opportunity for reflecting on how this area of the Aegean could have been navigated in small craft. This article closes by presenting a synthesis of possible year-round and seasonal routes usable around the island…

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Filed under: Antiquity | Other (location)
Subjects include: Science & Exploration

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